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Conserving biodiversity : a qualitative method for analyzing federal environmental policies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

by Williams, Samuel Parker

Abstract

Biological diversity includes the variance in genes, organisms, and relationships found in nature. Also called biodiversity, it provides countless economic, social, and personal benefits to people in the United States and all over the world. In the U.S., this is recognized by the federal government most explicitly in the Endangered Species Act’s protections for those flora and fauna whose survival is least likely and most endangered by human action. Unfortunately, there are many anthropogenic threats to biological diversity. In order to protect this incredible natural resource, responsible management must be implemented across all levels of government. Given the amount of funding, large spatial scales, and public interest at stake, the federal government is the best suited to this task. The federal government must play a key role in the protection of biological diversity. The purpose of this paper is to provide a qualitative analysis of the federal government’s management of biological diversity in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Examining management at these scales is uncommon, yet extremely valuable. By examining management on scales that coincide with the scale of natural processes, we can better see the broad implications and interactions of our management policies. We can also determine how to sharpen management in order to more accurately address these important scales. In order to achieve this, a basic overview of modern conservation science and terms to be utilized will be provided. Building upon this overview, four categories will be describe, which, according to the science, are vital to the preservation of biological diversity. These categories are cores, connectivity, restoration, and monitoring. There will be three standards used to assess the quality of policy. Scientific foundations, the human-nature nexus, and adaptability are these three measures. The Greater Yellowstone ecosystem will then be described. Finally, in each of the four categories, examples of policy or management action will be described and analyzed via the three measures of successful policy. This analysis shall provide examples of policies with varying degrees of success. By extrapolating management from these representative case studies, an aggregate picture of management across the ecosystem will be gained. It is hoped that such analysis will uncover areas where management may be improved and facilitate the spread of successful policies and management ideas. It is also intended as a suitable framework for examining and creating biodiversity management policies in other ecosystems, regions, and countries.

Note

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Includes bibliographical references.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Administrative Notes

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Copyright
Copyright restrictions apply.
Publisher
Colorado College
PID
coccc:9554
Digital Origin
born digital
Extent
123 pages : color maps
Thesis
Senior Thesis -- Colorado College
Thesis Advisor
Kannan, Phil Kummel, Miro
Department/Program
Environmental Program
Degree Name
bachelor
Degree Type
B.A.
Degree Grantor
Colorado College
Date Issued
2014-05